October 14, 2011

State Roundup, October 14, 2011

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REDISTRICTING SESSION: The Capital’s Earl Kelly gives a rundown of what can be expected at next week’s special session of the General Assembly for redistricting – ranging from already scheduled hearings to certain controversy over proposed maps.

The Legislative Black Caucus is scheduled to vote on the governor’s redistricting plan Saturday, but it’s unclear whether they will join with Republicans in supporting a very different map, Sarah Breitenbach reports in the Gazette.

Gazette columnist Barry Rascovar gives some historical perspective on the redistricting process.

WIND FARM: Maryland could be closer to approval of a wind-turbine farm generating electricity off the coast of Ocean City, Margie Hyslop reports in the Gazette.

In a Gazette op-ed, Allan Lichtman advocates for the wind power solution.

OBAMA JOBS BILL:  Gov. Martin O’Malley met with President Obama, other Democratic governors, and members of the “Super Committee” in the White House Thursday to talk about Obama’s jobs bill, reports The Sun’s John Fritze. After the meeting, O’Malley and other governors who were there urged Congress to pass the bill.

O’MALLEY GRADE: The League of Conservation Voters has given Gov. Martin O’Malley a grade of B+ for his environmental record, Benjamin Ford writes in the Gazette.

MARYLAND LOVES INCINERATORS: Carroll County Times reporter Carrie Ann Knauer writes about a new report from the Environmental Integrity Project that looks at new applications for incinerators in the state, and criticizes Maryland for making incinerators a preferred form of renewable energy.

Hayley Peterson of the Examiner writes that the state’s two largest incinerators produce more pollution than its four largest coal-fired plants.

(ANIMAL) WASTE TO ENERGY: The Daily Record’s Nick Sohr blogs about Gov. O’Malley’s call for proposals for a 10-megawatt electrical power plant fueled by animal waste.

BARTLETT GEARS UP: After potential redistricting maps have made it clear that Rep. Roscoe Bartlett is being targeted, his campaign manager told Meg Tully of the Frederick News Post that Bartlett is gearing up to keep his seat in 2012.

DLLR AUDIT: Legislative auditors found personal information was vulnerable on the computer systems used by the Department of Labor, Licensing and Regulation, reports Megan Poinski of MarylandReporter.com.

FUND TRANSIT: The Daily Record’s opinionators write that with federal approval this week to move forward on two necessary public transit projects, it’s time to figure out how to pay for them.

CURRIE TRIAL: FBI agents testified on Thursday about state Sen. Ulysses Currie’s financial disclosure lapses, according to an AP story in The Daily Record.

PLANNING FOR A SHORTFALL: Baltimore City departments are crafting preliminary budgets for the next fiscal year that cut 5% of spending, write The Sun’s Julie Scharper and Steve Kilar.

BAKER STANDS BY NOMINEE: Prince George’s County Executive Rushern Baker  plans a major push to get his embattled nominee for county attorney confirmed, reports the Post’s Miranda Spivack.

DRUG COURT: MarylandReporter.com’s Glynis Kazanjian takes a look at the drug treatment program in Baltimore City District Court and how it has helped people.

MORE TIME FOR HOWARD SCHOOLS: Paul Lernie, president of the Howard County Education Association and a member of the panel that recommended legislative changes to Howard County’s school board make up, hopes that this isn’t the end of the public process if people want to keep talking about the issue, reports The Sun’s Joe Burris.

END BOTTLE TAX: Retailers, beverage industry advocates, and employees at a local bottling plant spoke in front of a Baltimore City Council Committee, asking them to repeal the 2-cent bottle tax next year because they say it has cost jobs, reports Gary Haber of the Baltimore Business Journal.

WJZ’s Pat Warren asks people how they feel about the bottle tax. WBAL’s Jayne Miller has a report saying that the tax has raised $1 million less than projected.

UNIVERSITY MERGER: Gazette columnist Laslo Boyd analyzes the motives of the Senate President Mike Miller in his push for the merger of the flagship University of Maryland College Park with its professional schools in Baltimore.

NO HOWARD EXPANSION: Seeing little movement toward wanting more County Council members, the Howard County Charter Review Council decided they will not recommend increasing their number, reports the Howard County Times’ Lindsey McPherson.

BALTIMORE COUNTY LIQUOR LICENSES: A task force recommending changes in how Baltimore County liquor licenses are issued is working on making final recommendations, reports The Sun’s Alison Knezevich.

MONTGOMERY COUNTY ONLINE CENSORSHIP: Several gay and lesbian websites are blocked from the computers of Montgomery County employees, writes David Moon of Maryland Juice.

CARROLL PIA INCREASES: The Carroll County Attorney has proposed hiking the cost of Public Information Act requests, charging people 25 cents per page of a document accessed to obtain the requested information and increase the hourly rate of research for a PIA request to $25, reports Christian Alexandersen of the Carroll County Times.

HARFORD REDISTRICTING: A member of Harford County’s Central Republican Committee was the only speaker at a public hearing on the county’s proposed redistricting map, drawn by an all-Republican committee, reports Bryna Zumer of The Aegis.

EASTERN SHORE GROWING: Examining data that will be used in redistricting, Worcester County Commissioners saw growth in almost all regions of the county, reports Brian Shane of the Salisbury Daily Times.

MEDIA: In Baltimore Fishbowl, Michael Yockel, former editor of the Baltimore City Paper, profiles some of the region’s news websites including CityBizList, Baltimore Brew, Patch and MarylandReporter.com.

NOTEBOOK: The Gazette’s Reporters Notebook has items on Sen. Bill Ferguson’s broken toe; a Montgomery County Council non-lunch; and a tour of Charlotte, N.C., site of next year’s Democratic National Convention.